Article By: Jessica Zamurut
Iceage’s powerful performance at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, CO was a testament to the bands rising success, and it is clear how people of all ages and backgrounds would find relation and solace in their music. Never knowing what to expect from a concert at the intimate Bluebird, I eagerly entered the space, excited for what I was about to experience. I passed quickly through security, and headed inside the venue on the ground level. The auditorium was dimly lit; filled with light plooms of fake fog and soft jazz. The stage was barely visible, lit only by a few blue lights streaming down from the ceiling. All of the instruments were set in their respective positions, a large, gold, interlocking “Y” statue stood in the back. I watched as the first few people wandered around the seatless space to find spots before the opener, Mary Lattimore, began her set. The people seemed calm, not saying or doing much, just looking to the stage, eagerly awaiting the dead instruments to light up with sound.
Their waiting quickly subsided as Lattimore took the stage and filled the space with the music from her harp. Inspired by both typical things such as her mother’s musical passion and convenience stores, as well as extraordinary occurrences such as astronauts planting flowers in space, Lattimore’s unique manipulation of the harp’s traditional timbre was astonishing. As she played, more audience members filled the space, quickly transforming it from a near-empty room, to a teaming environment complete with passionate dancing, glassy eyes staring up at the stage, and a resonance in the air so thick you could feel it. After a few songs, her solo performance became a duo, as one of the guitarists from Iceage joined her for one special number. Their sound together was transcendent and tranquil, carrying the audience to a place they’ve never been on sound waves they've never heard. Interestingly, as I searched for familiar faces in the crowd, I noticed that the members of Iceage were standing in the audience watching her performance and interacting with other listeners. I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of them, because just as soon as I saw them, they vanished. And so did everything else. Blackout.
Red lights came back up a few minutes later, revealing Iceage standing still on the stage, the once docile instruments were in their hands, waiting to captivate. The band members appeared stoic, each one of them wearing an outfit incorporating only one color, black, except for the singer, who sported a stand-out brown/khaki suit. From the very beginning of their first song “Hurrah”, the vibe became electric! The audience directly in front of the stage began to mosh, and the crowd developed its own pulse. The singer, Elias Rønnenfelt, was magnetic and presented an interesting effect, somewhat similar to Nick Cave, but more hardcore and “punk”. The rest of the band members including: guitarist Johan Wieth, drummer Dan Nielsen, and bassist Jakob Pless, appeared, while clearly engaged and very impassioned by their sound, aloof. Completely unphased by the erratic movements presented by the energetic singer.
Iceage began their set with two songs off their newest album, Beyondless, including the aforementioned “Hurrah”, and “Pain Killer”. They then proceeded to play the most popular tracks from some of their past records. As they jolted from song to song, the light scheme shifted to match the sound. From red to yellow, pink to rainbow, the lights provided a beautiful and vivid luminous quality that animated the music even further than the audience singing along.
Between each song the band would ease into a small jam to fill the silence, usually lead by the drummer and bassist with occasional input from the other members. The drummer would then transition into the rhythm from the next song and the band would follow, all of this creating a nearly seamless auditory experience. The band included an additional member to their lineup, a young man who alternated between piano and violin throughout the set, adding a little extra flavor to the music. The violin was amped in a way that gave it a rather compressed, almost synth-sounding quality. Halfway through a song later in the setlist, one of the mics gave out. Rønnenfelt grabbed another, but they were both busted, and his voice was consumed by the rest of the band for the remainder of the track. He fiddled with the microphones to no avail, and the band casually rolled into an ambient based jam, all the instrumental members joining in, as the guitarist swiveled his whammy bar creating a chilling, droning texture. The problem was quickly fixed and the audience cheered as Rønnenfelt mumbled, “Thank you for your patience.” He briefly exchanged a few words with his band, and the music filled the venue once again.
The show was a loud testament to Iceages’ triumphant music, and it is clear why they attract such adoring fans wherever they go. Their presence was consistently powerful throughout the performance, allowing the audience to escape the hassle of their everyday lives and soak up the sounds that brought them to a brighter place.